Ainge rejects criticism of Stevens, says his job is to fix ‘real’ issues with team

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If there’s anything that Boston Celtics fans can agree on, it’s that change — perhaps quite a bit of it — is needed with the team after a brutal underachieving season has become an undeniable reality in 2020-21.

Calls for changes to more than the roster have even begun to percolate, with chants in the arena and online for Head Coach Brad Stevens job becoming an increasingly popular response to the team’s puzzling inability to put things together on the court this season. As he has done consistently this season, Team President Danny Ainge defended his coach regarding such criticisms without entirely absolving Stevens — or himself — of blame, again doing so in his usual weekly appearance on the popular New England Sports Radio Show “Toucher & Rich“.

Asked if it would be acceptable to run the same squad back next season, Ainge replied, “I don’t really know what you mean by acceptable.”

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"But I think that we will definitely be looking to make some changes in the offseason," he added, noting that he "obviously can't go into any of those kind of details." "But yeah, there will be changes. How significant I don't know yet -- we'll see." Asked if he'd consider firing Head Coach Brad Stevens, the Celtics president laughed dryly and replied, "nice try." https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1392875674231312389?s=20

"I think that if you follow our team on a daily basis, I think you guys know the answer to that," he explained when asked how much criticism Stevens deserves.

"Last night, we're without four of our top six players. It's hard to win in this league, I don't care who you're playing. It's been that way all year; we talk every week, and ... this weekend, it looks like we're going to have our team back, we're going to have our starting five and this week, everything's looking good, it's looking fresh, and it's been that way the whole year."

"And then something else happens," he noted, the frustration evident in his voice. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1392868468358266884?s=20

Ainge reiterated an earlier version of his take on the season's "blame pie," doling out a little all around the organization.

"Listen, we all have blame to share. There's no doubt about it. But you can't just look at a coach and take his whole body of work throughout his whole coaching career and throw this year and then make a judgment for crying out loud."

"That is idiotic," he said pointedly. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1392842093190647816?s=20

"I've been in professional sports for over 40 years," he reminded the audience. "I understand why you guys pointed Brad Stevens or people that are paying attention to the team point at Brad Stevens, but I'm there every day, and that's the least of our worries." "The job is to identify what the real issues are -- not what perceived issues are and I'm just telling you the real issues are not Brad Stevens," he finished. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1392527158975815680?s=20

And while their may indeed be some value if you get lucky cycling through coaches in terms of adding value to a team, there's also the possibility of doing the opposite . To say nothing of damaging relationships with players you need to keep happy in today's player-empowered NBA. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1392887364155023364?s=20

Should another season go awry after a better offseason of team-building that isn't as reactionary to a free agent walking out the door and the scramble to replace them once all the better options are spoken for, this conversation might have some legs. But it seems the front office has little interest in such a potential avenue for change in the present. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=50371,50367,50362,50280] [listicle id=50330]

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